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Adam's Room (Upper Elementary)


Adam's Update 2-7-2020

posted Feb 7, 2020, 12:47 PM by Cynthia Friedman

Hello Room 8 Families! 


In writing groups, we have been focusing on the comparison between space debris and pollution on earth. The students worked through a packet that focused on different types of pollution, took two-column notes, and answered questions to facilitate in populating an essay they began to write this week.  We worked specifically on introducing a topic, and making effective comparisons. Most of the students were challenged in creating a descriptive introduction, so we slowed our lessons down for most of the class. We brainstormed about opening sentences, using facts to further inform and draw in the reader, as well as anecdotes used to inspire interest for the person who reads. The 4th and 5th graders solidified their understanding of first, second, and third-person perspectives. Next week, the introductions will be complete, and we will focus on the body of our essay before tackling the conclusion.


For math, the 4th Graders used place value understanding to fluently decompose into smaller units multiple times in any place using the standard subtraction algorithm, and apply the algorithm to solve word problems using tape diagrams. Next week we will be solving two-step word problems using the standard subtraction algorithm fluently modeled with tape diagrams, and assess the reasonableness of answers using rounding. They will continue addressing these standards into the next weeks.


This week the 5th Graders learned to solve two-step word problems involving measurement conversions. This week the 5th graders used divide by 10 patterns for multi-digit whole number division. We are also finding equivalent fractions as a strategy for adding/subtracting fractions. The 5th graders will be working on these standards for the upcoming weeks as well.


The 6th Graders learned about fraction multiplication and the products of decimals, and will transition to learning about the sums and differences of decimals and the distributive property next week. In the upcoming weeks, 6th grade will be dividing multi-digit numbers using the algorithm, and converting decimal division into whole number division using fractions . 6th Grade will continue on these standards through next week.


For cultural studies, the students completed their deep dive into the civil rights movement. They will be doing 1-5 minute presentations focusing on an element of the civil rights movement their group chose at the beginning of next week. 


The class has completed their Vikings projects. There are some students who may be taking home their projects for some final details. The projects will be presented to the upper elementary cohort via a gallery walk throughout the week. Parents are invited to come to the gallery walk next Friday after school!


Report cards have been sent home with the students and should be in their backpacks!

Adam's Update 2-3-2020

posted Feb 3, 2020, 10:18 AM by Cynthia Friedman


Hello Room 8 Families!

This last week, the kids participated in the Walama Restoration Project. Our scientists had the opportunity to learn about cold stratification. The kids crushed coconut fibers and soaked them in water with seeds, put them in a bag and deposited them into the refrigerator. This process helps with softening seeds that eventually turn into starts for the garden. .

Room 8 had the pleasure of welcoming Sarah Stanley for a lively presentation on the life and history of bees! We had a wonderful treat of apples and honey and the students got to see and touch honeycombs. Thanks so much to Sarah for her time and generosity!

In writing groups, we have been focusing on the comparison between space debris and pollution on earth. The students worked through a packet that focused on different types of pollution, took two-column notes, and answered questions to facilitate in populating an essay they began to write this week. We worked specifically on introducing a topic, and making effective comparisons. Most of the students were challenged in creating a descriptive introduction, so we slowed our lessons down for most of the class. We brainstormed about opening sentences, using facts to further inform and draw in the reader, as well as anecdotes used to inspire interest for the person who reads. The 4th and 5th graders solidified their understanding of first, second, and third-person perspectives. Next week, the introductions will be complete, and we will focus on the body of our essay before tackling the conclusion.

For math, the 4th Graders used place value understanding to decompose into smaller units using the standard subtraction algorithm, and apply the algorithm to solve word problems using tape diagrams. Next week we will be using place value understanding to fluently decompose into smaller units multiple times in any place using the standard subtraction algorithm, and apply the algorithm to solve word problems using tape diagrams. They will continue addressing these standards into the next weeks.

This week the 5th Graders used fraction and decimal multiplication to express equivalent measurements. We will use the information we learned this week to solve two-step word problems involving measurement conversions the following week. The 5th graders will be working on these standards for the upcoming week.

The 6th Graders learned about fraction multiplication and the products of decimals, and will transition to learning about the sums and differences of decimals and the distributive property next week. The 6th graders will continue on these standards through next week.

For cultural studies, the students will be doing 1-5 minute presentations focusing on an element of the civil rights movement their group chose. The groups read through a rundown of the civil rights movement, and have been taking a deeper dive into research in order to present additional information to their peers.

To finish up their Vikings unit, the students will group together to formulate and answer a 3-pack of questions each day next week. The questions will guide the students to ask the essential question that will be presented on a presentation board. By the following week, the students should be ready for their gallery walk to share with their Upper Elementary cohort.

Adam's Update 1-23-2020

posted Jan 24, 2020, 10:21 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Hello Room 8 Families! 


Over the past week, the students have been studying the civil rights movement as it pertains to the life and times of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We read Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech together as a class. We watched a National Geographic video called “ Martin Luther King Jr: A Marked Man“ and used the note-taking model we learned about this week to help digest some of the important details of the video, and shared them as a class. We read about the civil rights movement in small groups with round robin reading, and discussed the impact of Dr. King’s influence on the movement. The students then focused their attention on researching an element of the civil rights movement to learn more details about the topic.


For writing, the students worked on a writing prompt about an historic figure they admire. They then compared that figure to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. They compared and contrasted their similarities to their differences. This exercise was a creative writing exercise with a goal in mind, which helps to address comparative writing. In writing groups, we are focusing on the comparison between space debris and pollution on earth. The students worked through a packet that focused on different types of pollution, took two-column notes, and answered questions to facilitate in populating an essay they began to write this week.  We worked specifically on introducing a topic, and making effective comparisons. Next week, the students will focus on the body of their essay. The following week we will work on conclusions, and finish up with space debris versus pollution on earth.


For math, the 4th Graders used place value understanding to decompose into smaller units using the standard subtraction algorithm, and apply the algorithm to solve word problems using tape diagrams. Next week we will be using place value understanding to fluently decompose into smaller units multiple times in any place using the standard subtraction algorithm, and apply the algorithm to solve word problems using tape diagrams.


This week the 5th Graders used fraction and decimal multiplication to express equivalent measurements. We will use the information we learned this week to solve two-step word problems involving measurement conversions the following week.


The 6th Graders learned about fraction multiplication and the products of decimals, and will transition to learning about the sums and differences of decimals and the distributive property next week.


The Friday of next week is grading day, which will be a day off for our students. 

Adam's Update 1-17-2020

posted Jan 17, 2020, 3:09 PM by Cynthia Friedman

This week our students are focusing on comparative writing and note-taking. The scholars are learning about space debris, and comparing the issues surrounding that with pollution on earth. They are using notes they took from a video they watched, as-well-as notes they took on two articles they read. They answered a series of questions to help them prepare for an essay they will write for submission next week. This assignment is differentiated between 4th, 5th, and 6th grade.


For math, the 4th Graders used place value understanding to decompose into smaller units using the standard subtraction algorithm, and apply the algorithm to solve word problems using tape diagrams. They will continue this exercise next week.


5th Graders used whole number multiplication to express equivalent measurements. Next week, the scholars will use fraction and decimal multiplication to express equivalent measurements.


The 6th Graders learned about the distributive property and the products of decimals, and will continue to be challenged next week by further exploring why we use the distributive property.


Our students are finalizing their Viking Longships project this week, and have begun writing a Longship owner’s manual. As an alternative to the manual, some students opted to write a Norse-like Saga. The Longship project will be presented on a poster board that will answer subject-related questions, display descriptive details about the Vikings, and what it was that made the Vikings such a successful empire. In the weeks to come, there will be a gallery walk in the classroom of Room 8’s Viking project, to which the students will invite their parents and peer upper elementary classrooms. The students have worked very hard on this project, and they are so proud of themselves. The Longships will be displayed on a shelf upon completion of the gallery walk presentation.


So as to help the class reflect upon why they have this coming Monday off from school,

we will be centering next week’s reading materials, writing prompts, and writing groups, on and around the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 


I hope you all have a restful weekend.


Adam's Update 1-10-2020

posted Jan 10, 2020, 12:42 PM by Cynthia Friedman

Hello Room 8 Families! 


The past three weeks of school, our scholars utilized their growing knowledge of physics and worked in groups to make predictions about movement, force and energy. They constructed roller coasters from a model and made predictions about where their ‘cars’ would end up. After comparing their predictions with the actual outcomes, they readjusted the pitch of their slope and made more accurate predictions. This project will continue into the next year, when the students will design their own roller coasters and run experiments based on their own designs.


Over the past month, the scholars have received math instruction, and checked-in with me for individual attention and further clarification. 


Regarding math, the 4th graders have recently been focusing on using their understanding of place value to add multi-digit whole numbers using the standard addition algorithm, and then applying the algorithm to solve word problems. This past week, they received instruction on solving multi-step word problems using the standard addition algorithm, and then assessing the reasonableness of their answers using rounding.


The 5th graders have been continuing in their math learning by using equivalent fractions as a strategy to add and subtract other fractions. They also received instruction on multiplying decimal fractions with tenths by multi-digit whole numbers while using their place value understanding to record partial products. This week, the ‘5ths’ worked on multiplying decimal fractions by multi-digit whole numbers through conversion to a whole number problem and then reasoning about the placement.


The students in 6th grade math are now working on the relationship between visual fraction models and equations, as-well-as creating division stories for dividing fractions by other fractions. This week, they moved into dividing fractions by mixed numbers and improper fractions. They will continue with this exercise and learn strategies to determine if figuring the decimal value of a fraction is an easier strategy to use for solving addition and subtraction of mixed fractions.

 

The students will begin taking on more responsibility by focusing on peer editing for their whole-class writing prompts. Then they will have face-to-face editing with Jonathan and myself before moving onto the computer for their final drafts. In addition to the new writing prompt protocol, the students will be working on specific writing skills in the weeks to come. Next week the 4th graders will be instructed on more diversity in their introductions and conclusions. The 5th graders will also work on introductions and conclusions, as-well-as small-group instruction on writing an argument paper. The 6th graders will have time with Adam working on argument and persuasion.


The students will be bringing home work plans to be signed by parents. They are expected to complete 80% of their work for the week and inform their parents of their workload.


We are so excited to be back!

Adam's Upate 11-25-19

posted Nov 25, 2019, 9:56 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Hello Room 8 Families! 


We have begun our new unit on ancient civilizations. Room 8’s scholars have chosen to learn about the Vikings! They have been introduced to the curriculum and have reviewed the agenda and project they will be working on. At the end of this unit, the students will have a gallery walk, and share what they have worked on and learned with their peers from the other upper elementary classes. We will invite you, as our scholar parents, to share in the gallery walk as well.


Last week we introduced physics, and started learning about Newton’s First Law. This week, we expanded our conversations in the subject to define the element of force. Please ask your child what they know about force, and prompt them to define the word with the equation they learned! We did an experiment that introduced the students to the concept of ‘energy storage’, and will continue with similar explanatory examples into next week.


This week’s writing prompt was titled “What I Am Thankful For”, and there have been some touching and interesting responses in the students scripts. This is a prompt that was difficult for many of our scholars to separate material ‘things’ from those that matter. Please prompt your students to share some of their writings with you. All of the students use Google Docs for their final drafts, and these drafts can be shared with you with their permission.


In math, the 4th grade students have moved past place value, and are working on gaining tools to help solidify their knowledge of place value. They are starting to work on multi-digit multiplication, and moving the decimal point when working with certain numbers. The 5th grade is working on solidifying multi-digit multiplication and the standard algorithm, decimal place value, and moving the decimal point. They are reinforcing their understanding of decimal place value by doing exercises that highlight vocabulary that supports their previous understanding that, to the left of the decimal point means to multiply by, and to the right of the decimal point means to divide by corresponding place value. 5th grade is also working on skills that will help them find equivalent fractions as a strategy for adding and subtraction fractions, as-well-as the area model. The 6th grade students are learning how to divide fractions by fractions, and how to extract equations from word-problems. They use modelling to help illustrate their understanding of the concept.


Next Wednesday, November 27, Ridgeline will stage two of its most popular events - Stone Soup and the School Sing-Along. Please bring vegetables to the school on or before Tuesday, November 26th. Room 8 has been selected as the upper-elementary classroom where veggie slicing will take place on that day, and where parent volunteers will be assisting students and staff with veggie chopping. Importantly, please remind your scholars to bring their own bowl and spoon to Ridgeline on Wednesday, so they can enjoy a bowl of one of the several delicious varieties of soups which will be available, all prepared and served by our talented and greatly appreciated parent volunteers.


Last, but not least! This evening, Friday, November 22, at 5pm, some of our students have a gig at Sam Bond’s Garage (located in the Whiteaker neighborhood at 407 Blair Street in Eugene). They will be playing accompanying ukulele with a band. If you can, please stop by, enjoy the sounds, and support our Ridgeline community out in the community.

Adam's Update 10-21-19

posted Oct 23, 2019, 8:16 AM by Cynthia Friedman

This past week we have changed a few protocols to maximize our learning. 


Our scholars have also grouped themselves for their math work. Most students are collaborating well with their colleagues, while others are working well independently. Please be sure to encourage math work, and inquire about how much time your scholar is dedicating to math each day. We have started daily work plans for students who need a little more math guidance, while also self-directing.


We are encouraging creative writing in class by dedicating a journal for just that purpose. Every student may do journal writing during the day. Many of our kids ask permission to write their own stories during work block, which is great! Since there has been high-demand, we have framed unstructured writing time into their work block as an option for meaningful work. This, coupled with our morning writing prompt, and restructured plan of attack for improving creative writing skills, will help in solidifying some of the norms of good writing.


The students will be given one writing assignment per week, which will be refined the entire week until Friday, when the writing is to be completed, due, and turned in. This will give students the opportunity to practice their writing, proofreading, and editing skills, while also giving them an opportunity to provide, and receive, positive and constructive feedback and criticism. They will each have one-on-one time with a teacher to finalize corrections, as-well-as have a chance for their peers to help them improve on their skills. The 5th and 6th graders will refine their writing down to two paragraphs, and the 4th graders will refine down to one paragraph. This will help them learn efficient and effective writing, and prepare them for middle-school and beyond.


The scholars are also beginning to writing short summaries for their article reading. Note-taking is also a skill they are expected to know upon entering middle-school. In order to give our scholars the tools necessary to succeed in the following years, we are working on note-taking and summary writing to help extract important information to help recall for later reference. We are supplementing summary writing by ordering more language arts material for the classroom,

which will help our scholars be better at analyzing sentences, making inferences, and identifying parts of speech.


Next week is already well underway, and we are very much looking forward to seeing what our scholars will accomplish in the coming weeks!


Adam's Update 9-11-19

posted Sep 11, 2019, 1:11 PM by Cynthia Friedman

Hello Room 8 families! 


For those of you who have not met me, my name is Adam Sumner and I will be returning to the Ridgeline community, along with Jonathan Sternberg, to represent Room 8 for the 2019-2020 academic school year. 


Jonathan and I have been fortunate enough to watch many of your kids work diligently through the last few months of what turned out to be a very challenging 2018-2019. Although there are many returning students, we also have many new faces joining the Room 8 family, thus providing an opportunity for our new 5th and 6th-grade scholars to develop leadership skills through mentorship. 


Our students look for opportunities to shine, and in Room 8 Jonathan and advocate for our kids to put their best foot forward. Our new mentors will be given new and exciting opportunities to lead in and out of their class, all-the-while looking toward their elder peers for guidance and collaboration. 


Room 8 is collaborating with Rooms 9 and 10 with reading clubs and other special activities this year, and we are looking to make Fridays a collaborative day, where students will spend time with their peers from other classrooms. We want our students to value their community, and look forward to making connections outside of Room 8. Many of our scholars have dear friends that have matriculated to other classes, and enjoy opportunities to continue strengthening the relationships they have formed previously. As a team, we feel that the connections made outside the classroom, but still within the framework of the Ridgeline community, is valuable exposure that gives our scholars the tools to help them work with others in sometimes challenging situations. The students will discover that working with other people can be not only challenging but fun. The Upper Elementary team is dedicated to providing a rich, and diverse learning experience that has your kids on their toes. 



Jon's Update 3-15-19

posted Mar 15, 2019, 11:11 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Dear Room 8 families,

I want to start by expressing what a joy it's been to spend the week with your children. They are sincerely a kind, curious, delightful group of students.

My main goal this week was to restore order and routine to their classroom environment, and put ownership of their space back in the students' hands and hearts. The transformation was almost instantaneous. The students are back to work, and the classroom vibe is very positive and light-hearted. Our kids are writing, reading, and doing math on a daily basis.

I'll be working with Adam, the new classroom teacher, to maintain some of the systems I've set into place, so the students can move forward smoothly. We'll further refine a predictable, rigorous academic schedule that still includes plenty of opportunity for creative expression and fun.

Thank you so much for your patience and support during this transition. Next week we'll be finishing up stories and transforming a few of them into puppet shows, in addition to more math! and academic writing. I'm looking forward to spending one more week getting to know this fun bunch.

Best,

Jon


Elizabeth's Update 2-15-19

posted Feb 15, 2019, 11:16 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Hello Ridgeline Families of Room 8!

I deeply appreciate the warm welcome so many staff, teachers, students, and parents have extended to me over these first days of teaching!  It has been a wonderful adventure to become better acquainted with you all.

In the future I will ask students if they would like to contribute some concise articles to this newsletter.  While in the meantime, I will highlight a few activities that have served to promote consistent work routines and represent a continuum of learning opportunity from Montessori prepared material to student-initiated, creative academic development.

Throughout the day, Jonathan continues to provide steadfast and expert support to all students as mentor, technical resource, and discussion counterpart. I asked if he would expand his role among students to present weekly curricular series in literature and history, so students can benefit from his experience and perspective as they think through the content together.

In one photo you can see a student with a linear representation based on the Natural History Timeline of Life as a classic memory exercise (in which a complete control chart is placed at a distance in the classroom from a blank chart students complete), working alongside students who have moved on to the second phase of the work to do an interpretive model of the ancient environment.

Regarding study of literature, another Room 8 material several students brought back into practice based on good memories from last year is a format for productive Book Club discussion developed by Meridy Wheeler. Choices made for reading in these first days have been based on student interest, while I design the upcoming sequence of text-based research and age-specific experience.

In addition, examination of simple mechanisms was experienced in the form of a corn sheller for an heirloom popcorn variety. I briefly reviewed agricultural development of the grass seed to the popular snack we enjoy today in gratitude to the thousands of farmers over thousands of years who contributed to the selective breeding of kernels that expand significantly when exposed to heat, in the context of changes in states of matter.

As a series of exercises in refining writing skill including spelling and syntax, students completed drafts, edits, and final editions of business cards, scripts, and Valentine’s Day cards for people they know and love.  Throughout this process, I consistently observed for convention balanced with creativity, content balanced with format, and symbol balanced with description.

Regarding classroom practices for engaged learning, I have been getting to know students as quickly as possible by reviewing their portfolios of completed work with them. I have consistently supported students in making and keeping the academic agreements of working on materials I introduced in four subject areas, while I gain a sense of their individual ways of navigating progress, perseverance, creativity, goal-setting, and celebration of accomplishment. 

Students are looking forward to increased involvement from Clark Hannahs as he presents new robotics building opportunities to encourage the understanding and active use of design and engineering experience.

I am looking forward to next week when some classic Montessori materials I recently reorganized will be introduced in the subjects of mathematics and language study.  It has been inspirational to see the students choosing different working groups for different subjects, as I observe their strengths and review their records in planning for productive academic achievement. I thank the students daily for their patience with me as I learn Ridgeline school culture, and work to improve my understanding of how to assist them all in living up to their personal potential.

I also look forward to talking with you soon, and please do not hesitate to contact me by email if you would like to schedule a conversation or student-work oriented meeting.

 Wishing you all an excellent holiday weekend, and I look forward to seeing students starting Tuesday of next week!    

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